Hexbyte Glen Cove Scientists use NASA satellite data to track ocean microplastics from space thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Scientists use NASA satellite data to track ocean microplastics from space

Hexbyte Glen Cove

An assortment of microplastic fragments, filaments, and fibers from the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre displayed in a disposable water bottle. Credit: Nicole Trenholm / Ocean Research Project

Scientists from the University of Michigan have developed an innovative way to use NASA satellite data to track the movement of tiny pieces of plastic in the ocean.

Microplastics form when plastic trash in the breaks down from the sun’s rays and the motion of ocean waves. These small flecks of plastic are harmful to marine organisms and ecosystems. Microplastics can be carried hundreds or thousands of miles away from the source by , making it difficult to track and remove them. Currently, the main source of information about the location of microplastics comes from fisher boat trawlers that use nets to catch plankton—and, unintentionally, microplastics.

The new technique relies on data from NASA’s Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS), a constellation of eight small satellites that measures wind speeds above Earth’s oceans and provides information about the strength of hurricanes. CYGNSS also uses radar to measure ocean roughness, which is affected by several factors including wind speed and debris floating in the water.

Working backward, the team looked for places where the ocean was smoother than expected given the , which they thought could indicate the presence of microplastics. Then they compared those areas to observations and model predictions of where microplastics congregate in the ocean. The scientists found that microplastics tended to be present in smoother waters, demonstrating that CYGNSS data can be used as a tool to track ocean from space.

Assortment of microplastics that were sifted from the ocean. Credit: NASA



Citation:
Scientists use NASA satellite data to track ocean microplastics from space (2021, June 25)
retrieved 25 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-scientists-nasa-satellite-track-ocean.html

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Sri Lanka's marine disaster worsens as environmental toll rises thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Sri Lanka’s marine disaster worsens as environmental toll rises

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Members of the Sri Lankan Navy work to remove debris washed ashore from the Singapore-registered container ship MV X-Press Pearl.

Damage to Sri Lanka’s marine environment from a sinking chemical ship is worse than feared, officials said Friday, as more dead turtles, dolphins and whales washed up on the island’s beaches.

As of Thursday, 130 have been found dead on the Indian Ocean’s beaches since the MV X-Press caught fire last month before partially sinking off the coast after two weeks ablaze.

Sri Lanka’s government believes they were killed by the hundreds of tonnes of chemicals and plastics leaking from the ship.

“At least six turtle carcasses washed up along the western coast on Thursday alone,” a wildlife official told AFP.

He said they had also received the first report of a shoal of reef fish dying at Hikkaduwa, a southern tourist resort area known for its rich coral reefs.

“So far we have collected the carcasses of 115 turtles, 15 dolphins and five whales,” the official said, asking not to be named.

They include a blue whale carcass found off the northern Jaffna peninsula, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Colombo, last week.

Officials are awaiting the results of forensic reports, he said.

The Singapore-registered ship was known to be carrying 81 containers of hazardous chemicals, including 25 tonnes of nitric acid, when it caught fire.

Around 1,200 tonnes of tiny plastic pellets and other debris that blanketed beaches have been scooped up and are being stored in 45 .

Sri Lanka is seeking $40 million in damages from the ship’s operators X-Press Feeders.

Local police have launched a criminal probe against the ship’s captain, chief engineer, chief officer as well as its local agent.

Environmentalists are also suing the government and the owners for allegedly failing to prevent the disaster.

The Sri Lankan navy said meanwhile Friday that another on its way from Colombo to Singapore had reported an engine room fire and that one crew member was missing.

Around 200 ships and oil tankers sail past Sri Lanka every day on the busy routes between Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Many dock in Colombo, the biggest transhipment hub in South Asia.



© 2021 AFP

Citation:
Sri Lanka’s marine disaster worsens as environmental toll rises (2021, June 25)
retrieved 25 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-sri-lanka-marine-disaster-worsens.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Versatile, fast and reliable SARS-CoV-2 antibody assay thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Versatile, fast and reliable SARS-CoV-2 antibody assay

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Based on the proven MCR microarray analysis platform of the Munich-based GWK Praezisionstechnik GmbH scientists at the Technical University of Munich have developed a new microarray-based rapid test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Credit: Sebastian Kissel / TUM

During the continued progression of the Corona pandemic, rapid, inexpensive, and reliable tests will become increasingly important to determine whether people have the associated antibodies—either through infection or vaccination. Researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now developed such a rapid antibody test. It provides the result in only eight minutes; the aim is to further reduce the process time to four minutes.

There are currently more than 20 different test procedures available for determining whether a person has against the new Corona virus. The waiting times for the results range between ten minutes and two and a half hours.

Matrix effects reduce the sensitivity of many of the methods. The more sensitive assays require numerous steps, making them expensive. In addition, most tests can identify only a single kind of antibody, forcing a choice between testing either for immunity through vaccination or through survived infection.

An interdisciplinary research team at the Technical University of Munich, led by the Chair of Analytical Chemistry and Water Chemistry, has now developed a low-cost automated rapid test that is highly sensitive and highly specific in detecting the three most important antibodies. The project, called CoVRapid, was funded by the Bavarian Research Foundation (BFS).

Modification of a proven process

The measurement is carried out on a foil-based sensor chip using the MCR microarray analysis platform of the Munich-based supplier GWK Präzisionstechnik GmbH. The device displays its measurement results within a few minutes after injecting a blood sample.

Today, the procedure still takes eight minutes, but building on current research, the waiting time will soon be reduced to just four minutes. IgG antibodies against a protein fragment of the SARS-CoV-2 receptor binding domain (RBD), the spike protein (S1 fragment) and the nucleocapsid (N) are simultaneously analyzed.

Based on the proven MCR microarray analysis platform of the Munich-based GWK Praezisionstechnik GmbH scientists at the Technical University of Munich have developed a new microarray-based rapid test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Lead author Julia Klüpfel with a measuring chip at the laboratory of the Central Institute for Translational Cancer Research (TranslaTUM). Credit: Sebastian Kissel / TUM

Deployable against new mutants

New mutant proteins can be very easily integrated into the chip. For this project, the research team is collaborating with the Planegg-based company ISAR Bioscience, which produces the respective viral proteins biotechnologically and modifies them for analytical use. The process used to fix the proteins onto the sensor chip has been tried and tested for many years.

“We have already developed reliable rapid tests for antibiotics in milk and for Legionella using this ,” says adjunct teaching professor Dr. Michael Seidel, head of the Bioanalytics and Microanalytical Systems group at TUM’s Department of Analytical Chemistry and Water Chemistry. “The system has already proven itself in practical use. Our ‘CoVRapid’ rapid test may thus be deployed in clinics, medical offices and research laboratories in the very near future.”

The new test will answer questions about corona immunity

However, the new rapid can do even more: the microarray technology, which allows to accommodate up to 100 measurement points on a single chip, is so sensitive that it can even determine the concentration of antibodies in a sample.

Based on the proven MCR microarray analysis platform of the Munich-based GWK Praezisionstechnik GmbH scientists at the Technical University of Munich have developed a new microarray-based rapid test for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. The image shows the comparison of the results of the CoVRapid test of persons without immunization against SARS-CoV-2 (left), with immunization by vaccination and with immunization after infection (right). Credit: Julia Kluepfel / TUM

“The present research begs questions like: How well do vaccinations work? How long does immunity last? When will vaccinations need to be readministered? With its , our CoVRapid will help us find the answers to these questions,” says lead author Julia Klüpfel.

In the long term, the team is also planning on including other pathogens in the panel so the assay can be used, for example, to evaluate the effectiveness of an influenza vaccination.



More information:
Elia Santigosa et al, Green microfluidic liquid-phase microextraction of polar and non-polar acids from urine, Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s00216-021-03320-9

Citation:
Versatile, fast and reliable SARS-CoV-2 antibody assay (2021, June 24)
retrieved 24 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-versatile-fast-reliable-sars-cov-antibody.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Cosmic 'hand' hitting a wall thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Cosmic ‘hand’ hitting a wall

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Credit: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Motions of a remarkable cosmic structure have been measured for the first time, using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The blast wave and debris from an exploded star are seen moving away from the explosion site and colliding with a wall of surrounding gas.

Astronomers estimate that light from the reached Earth about 1,700 years ago, or when the Mayan empire was flourishing and the Jin dynasty ruled China. However, by cosmic standards the supernova remnant formed by the , called MSH 15-52, is one of the youngest in the Milky Way galaxy. The explosion also created an ultra-dense, magnetized star called a pulsar, which then blew a bubble of energetic particles, an X-ray-emitting nebula.

Since the explosion the supernova remnant—made of debris from the shattered star, plus the explosion’s blast wave—and the X-ray nebula have been changing as they expand outward into space. Notably, the supernova remnant and X-ray nebula now resemble the shape of fingers and a palm.

Previously, astronomers had released a full Chandra view of the ‘hand,’ as shown in the main graphic. A new study is now reporting how quickly the supernova remnant associated with the hand is moving, as it strikes a cloud of gas called RCW 89. The inner edge of this cloud forms a gas wall located about 35 light-years from the center of the explosion.






To track the motion the team used Chandra data from 2004, 2008, and then a combined image from observations taken in late 2017 and early 2018. These three epochs are shown in the inset of the main graphic.

The rectangle (fixed in space) highlights the motion of the explosion’s , which is located near one of the fingertips. This feature is moving at almost 9 million miles per hour. The fixed squares enclose clumps of magnesium and neon that likely formed in the star before it exploded and shot into space once the star blew up. Some of this explosion debris is moving at even faster speeds of more than 11 million miles per hour. A color version of the 2018 image shows the fingers in blue and green and the clumps of magnesium and neon in red and yellow.

While these are startling , they actually represent a slowing down of the remnant. Researchers estimate that to reach the farthest edge of RCW 89, material would have to travel on average at almost 30 million miles per hour. This estimate is based on the age of the supernova remnant and the distance between the center of the explosion and RCW 89. This difference in speed implies that the material has passed through a low-density cavity of gas and then been significantly decelerated by running into RCW 89.

The exploded star likely lost part or all of its outer layer of hydrogen gas in a wind, forming such a cavity, before exploding, as did the star that exploded to form the well-known supernova remnant Cassiopeia A (Cas A), which is much younger at an age of about 350 years. About 30% of that collapse to form supernovas are of this type. The clumps of debris seen in the 1,700-year-old remnant could be older versions of those seen in Cas A at optical wavelengths in terms of their initial speeds and densities. This means that these two objects may have the same underlying source for their explosions, which is likely related to how with stripped hydrogen layers explode. However, astronomers do not understand the details of this yet and will continue to study this possibility.

A paper describing these results appeared in the June 1, 2020, issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, and a preprint is available online. The authors of the study are Kazimierz Borkowski, Stephen Reynolds, and William Miltich, all of North Carolina State University in Raleigh.



More information:
Kazimierz J. Borkowski et al, Fast Blast Wave and Ejecta in the Young Core-collapse Supernova Remnant MSH 15-52/RCW 89, The Astrophysical Journal (2020). DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab91c0

Citation:
Cosmic ‘hand’ hitting a wall (2021, June 24)
retrieved 24 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-cosmic-wall.html

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part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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Hexbyte Glen Cove The molecular characteristics of dissolved organic matter in an eutrophic coastal bay thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove The molecular characteristics of dissolved organic matter in an eutrophic coastal bay

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Conceptual diagram of the dissolved organic matter pool. Credit: Science China Press

Coastal bays are momentous transition zones connecting terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Xiangshan Bay is a typically eutrophic and semi-enclosed bay in the East China Sea. A recent study took Xiangshan Bay as an example, revealing the sources and transformation of dissolved organic matter (DOM) in this eutrophic bay.

Dissolved organic matter (DOM), consisting of a vast collection of complex compounds, has received much attention due to its significant contribution to the largest reduced organic carbon pool in the ocean, which is sizable to the atmosphere CO2 reservoir.

Coastal bays are known for a semi-enclosed signature and a long water retention time compared, with river-dominated estuaries. In fact, they serve as links between rivers and oceans to transport organic carbon. However, they were universally exposed to high fluxes of nutrients from intensive anthropogenic activities such as sewage discharge and aquaculture industry due to their locations near human settlements. Large nutrient fluxes could lead to coastal eutrophication with harmful algal blooms, which have been observed in a couple of coastal bays, such as Jiaozhou Bay and Xiangshan Bay in China. The high primary productivity, as well as subsequent biogeochemical processes, induced from eutrophication might impact the and flux of organic matter transported to the open ocean. As such, coastal bays are supposed to be not only “conduits” where organic matter is transported to open oceans, but also “reactors” where organic matter is processed or transformed.

Describing Xiangshan Bay as “one of the most valuable testing places around the world,” researchers from Zhejiang University pointed out the immense value of investigating the compositions of the DOM pool there. “It is recognized as a typically long, narrow coastal bay, with long water retention time, which would facilitate the biogeochemical processing of . Furthermore, it has been the largest aquaculture base in Zhejiang province, causing severe eutrophication with harmful algae blooms.”

Biogeochemical researches conducted in other coastal bays, since the emergence of the spectroscopic, have revealed “physical mixing, photo-oxidation, and tidal effects might affect the behaviors of DOM in such systems” according to Yu Pang and Chen Zhao, graduate students at the School of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

In an article coauthored with Yuping Zhou, Yanzhen Zhang, Wei Huang and Yuntao Wang, scholars at Zhejiang University and Second Institute of Oceanography, Ministry of Natural Resources, the researchers stated that “terrestrial, marine, and anthropogenic inputs collectively contribute to the whole DOM pool. The conclusion was confirmed by both optical and molecular approaches. One protein-like component and two humic-like components were identified by spectroscopic techniques and molecular groups associated with different sources were also determined.”

These authors revealed in the study, which was published in the journal Science China: Earth Sciences, that terrestrial signals gradually decrease from the upper to lower bay with increasing salinity due to a seawater dilution effect while a protein-like fluorescent component may derive from multiple sources because a similar linear relationship is lacking.

Research aimed at solving this issue faced an array of obstacles: The isolation, extraction, and chemical characterization of DOM are prerequisites to understand its cycling in aquatic systems. However, except for a few sugars, amino acids, and lignin phenols, compositions of most DOM are still largely uncertain because of its complexity, heterogeneity, and low concentration in natural environments. Understanding the chemical composition and sources is a prerequisite to determine the DOM cycling in aquatic environments.

“Traditional techniques could only be reflective of the bulk chemistry of the DOM while our knowledge of the molecular-level composition of DOM is still lacking. To date, limited studies have combined optical and molecular approaches to systematically investigate the DOM composition in coastal bays.”

To solve this problem, these researchers applied Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICRMS), a state-of-the-art tool offering a possibility to precisely obtain molecular-level information. In the recent years, scientists have established a variety of indices to depict DOM based on the data obtained from FT-ICRMS.

The researchers found that the physical mixing resulting from seawater dilution effect still occurs in Xiangshan Bay during summer, which has been widely found in river-dominated estuaries around the world. Also, the detection of anthropogenic-associated S-containing compounds confirms the inputs from human activities. Anthropogenic inputs may be a significant source of DOM in coastal bays when comparing Xiangshan Bay with other Chinese bays.

The data obtained from FT-ICRMS suggested that photo-induced degradation plays a critical role in altering DOM compositions, considering molecular compositions imprint pronounced labile signatures compared with other aquatic environments.

“To the best of our knowledge,” wrote the seven researchers, “this work will also shed lights on future studies focusing on the estuarine carbon cycling.”



More information:
Chen Zhao et al, The optical and molecular signatures of DOM under the eutrophication status in a shallow, semi-enclosed coastal bay in southeast China, Science China Earth Sciences (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s11430-020-9728-4

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Discovered: How ladybugs stick to surfaces without losing legs at takeoff thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Discovered: How ladybugs stick to surfaces without losing legs at takeoff

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Figure 1. Ladybird beetle on a glass surface. Its white tarsal setae can be seen in contact with the surface. Credit: National Institute for Materials Science

NIMS, the University of Tokyo and the University of Kiel have jointly ascertained the tarsal adhesion mechanisms employed by ladybird beetles, which had been debated for decades.

Strong adhesives are commonly used to firmly bond materials together. Their use hinders recycling—one of our efforts to build a sustainable society—by making it more difficult to disassemble and sort waste products. Efforts are therefore underway to develop new, environmentally friendly adhesive technologies that have high bonding strength but are also easier to detach. Some scientists in biomimetics have been studying the ability of reptiles and insects to easily walk on ceilings and walls by quickly and repeatedly attaching and detaching their tarsi to and from these surfaces. This research team has been researching and developing new adhesive technologies using the efficient tarsal functions of ladybird beetles as a model. This beetle is capable of walking on glassy, smooth surfaces without slipping despite the fact that the portion of its tarsi which comes into contact with the surface is covered with rigid setae. This portion of the tarsi also secretes fluid. Based on these observations, two potential tarsal adhesion mechanisms had been proposed: a mechanism involving intermolecular forces of attraction between tarsal setae and the walking surface and another mechanism involving the of the secreted tarsal fluid. The debate over which was correct remained unresolved for 40 years.

This research team recently succeeded in measuring the thickness of the tarsal fluid layer formed between the setal tips of a ladybird beetle and the glass surface on which the beetle was placed, under the presumption that this thickness indicates the strength of the intermolecular of attraction between the tarsi and the surface. To make this measurement, the team first formed an AuPd particle layer 10 to 20 nm in thickness on the glass surface. The beetle was then placed on the coated surface and allowed to secrete tarsal fluid. The tarsal fluid was then instantaneously frozen while the beetle’s legs were still resting on the coated surface. The legs were then detached from the surface and the height of the AuPd particle layer filled with the frozen tarsal fluid was measured under a Cryo-SEM microscope. As a result, the thickness of the tarsal layer (i.e., the distance between the setal tips of the beetle and the glass ) was found to be sufficiently narrow for intermolecular forces of attraction to act effectively. The team then measured traction forces of ladybird beetles walking on the surfaces of various substrates using a combination of biomimetic and materials science techniques in order to determine the relative contributions of intermolecular forces and other adhesion forces. Intermolecular forces are known to be correlated with work of adhesion (WA), the amount of energy required to separate two connected surfaces of different materials. The correlation between WA and traction forces was therefore examined by fitting experimental data into a mathematical formula describing the relationship between these two parameters. As a result, the tarsal adhesion force of the beetle was found to be correlated with WA, indicating that intermolecular forces (i.e., van der Waals forces) are the primary force involved in the tarsal adhesion of ladybird beetles.

In future studies, the team plans to apply these results to the development of artificial structures capable of attaching and detaching themselves to and from various substrates. These structures may be used in the feet of disaster relief robots capable of traveling on various surfaces in a manner similar to ladybird beetles. They also may be integrated into devices designed to replace parts within high-precision equipment.

This research was published in the April 8, 2021 issue of Scientific Reports.



More information:
Naoe Hosoda et al, Evidence for intermolecular forces involved in ladybird beetle tarsal setae adhesion, Scientific Reports (2021). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-021-87383-9

Citation:
Discovered: How ladybugs stick to surfaces without losing legs at takeoff (2021, June 23)
retrieved 23 June 2021

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Hexbyte Glen Cove First clear view of a boiling cauldron where stars are born thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove First clear view of a boiling cauldron where stars are born

Hexbyte Glen Cove

The RCW 49 galactic nebula pictured above is one of the brightest star-forming regions in the Milky Way. By analyzing the movement of carbon atoms in an expanding bubble of gas surrounding the Westerlund 2 star cluster within RCW 49, a UMD-led team of researchers have created the clearest image to date of a stellar-wind driven bubble where stars are born. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltec/E.Churchwell (University of Wisconsin).

University of Maryland researchers created the first high-resolution image of an expanding bubble of hot plasma and ionized gas where stars are born. Previous low-resolution images did not clearly show the bubble or reveal how it expanded into the surrounding gas.

The researchers used data collected by the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) telescope to analyze one of the brightest, most massive star-forming regions in the Milky Way galaxy. Their analysis showed that a single, expanding bubble of warm gas surrounds the Westerlund 2 and disproved earlier studies suggesting there may be two bubbles surrounding Westerlund 2. The researchers also identified the source of the bubble and the energy driving its expansion. Their results were published in The Astrophysical Journal on June 23, 2021.

“When form, they blow off much stronger ejections of protons, electrons and atoms of heavy metal, compared to our sun,” said Maitraiyee Tiwari, a postdoctoral associate in the UMD Department of Astronomy and lead author of the study. “These ejections are called , and extreme stellar winds are capable of blowing and shaping bubbles in the surrounding clouds of cold, dense gas. We observed just such a bubble centered around the brightest cluster of stars in this region of the galaxy, and we were able to measure its radius, mass and the speed at which it is expanding.”

The surfaces of these expanding bubbles are made of a dense gas of ionized carbon, and they form a kind of outer around the bubbles. New stars are believed to form within these shells. But like soup in a boiling cauldron, the bubbles enclosing these star clusters overlap and intermingle with clouds of surrounding gas, making it hard to distinguish the surfaces of individual bubbles.

Tiwari and her colleagues created a clearer picture of the bubble surrounding Westerlund 2 by measuring the radiation emitted from the cluster across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from high-energy X-rays to low-energy radio waves. Previous studies, which only radio and submillimeter wavelength data, had produced low-resolution images and did not show the bubble. Among the most important measurements was a far-infrared wavelength emitted by a specific ion of carbon in the shell.

A team led by UMD astronomers created the first clear image of an expanding bubble of stellar gas where stars are born using data from NASA’s SOFIA telescope on board a heavily modified 747 jet as seen here in this artist’s rendering. Credit: Artist Rendering by Marc Pound/UMD

“We can use spectroscopy to actually tell how fast this carbon is moving either towards or away from us,” said Ramsey Karim (M.S. ’19, astronomy), a Ph.D. student in astronomy at UMD and a co-author of the study. “This technique uses the Doppler effect, the same effect that causes a train’s horn to change pitch as it passes you. In our case, the color changes slightly depending on the velocity of the carbon ions.”

By determining whether the carbon ions were moving toward or away from Earth and combining that information with measurements from the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum, Tiwari and Karim were able to create a 3-D view of the expanding stellar-wind bubble surrounding Westerlund 2.

In addition to finding a single, stellar wind-driven bubble around Westerlund 2, they found evidence of new stars forming in the shell region of this bubble. Their analysis also suggests that as the bubble expanded, it broke open on one side, releasing hot plasma and slowing expansion of the shell roughly a million years ago. But then, about 200,000 or 300,000 years ago, another bright star in Westerlund 2 evolved, and its energy re-invigorated the expansion of the Westerlund 2 shell.

“We saw that the expansion of the bubble surrounding Westerlund 2 was reaccelerated by winds from another very massive star, and that started the process of expansion and star formation all over again,” Tiwari said. “This suggests stars will continue to be born in this shell for a long time, but as this process goes on, the new will become less and less massive.”

Tiwari and her colleagues will now apply their method to other bright star clusters and warm gas bubbles to better understand these star-forming regions of the galaxy. The work is part of a multi-year NASA-supported program called FEEDBACK.



More information:
“SOFIA FEEDBACK Survey: Exploring the Dynamics of the Stellar-wind-driven Shell of RCW 49” Astrophysical Journal (2021). DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/abf6ce

Citation:
First clear view of a boiling cauldron where stars are born (2021, June 23)
retrieved 23 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-view-cauldron-stars-born.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Putting makeup on spiders does not change their chances of being eaten by a predator thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Putting makeup on spiders does not change their chances of being eaten by a predator

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Turtle carcasses wash ashore in Sri Lanka after ship fire thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Turtle carcasses wash ashore in Sri Lanka after ship fire

Hexbyte Glen Cove

A Sri Lankan policeman looks at a dead turtle that washed ashore in Colombo, Sri Lanka, June 10, 2021. Carcasses of nearly a hundred turtles believed to have been killed due to heat and chemical poisoning from a fire-ravaged ship that sank off while transporting chemicals have been washed to Sri Lanka’s ashore in recent weeks, raising fears of a severe marine disaster. Credit: AP Photo/ Krishan Kariyawasam

Nearly a hundred carcasses of turtles with throat and shell damage, as well as a dozen dead dolphins and a blue whale, have washed ashore in Sri Lanka since a container ship burned and sank, raising fears of a severe marine disaster.

Ecologists believe the deaths were directly caused by the fire and release of hazardous chemicals while the Singapore-flagged X-Press Pearl burned for 12 days and sank last week off Sri Lanka’s main port in the capital Colombo. Government officials, however, said these causes were “provisionally” confirmed and the investigation was continuing.

The fire started on the ship on May 20 and dead marine species started washing ashore days later.

A ship manifest seen by The Associated Press said 81 of the ship’s nearly 1,500 containers held “dangerous” goods.

The Sri Lankan navy believes the blaze was caused by its chemical cargo, most of which was destroyed in the fire. But debris including burned fiberglass and tons of plastic pellets have severely polluted the surrounding waters and a long stretch of the island nation’s famed beaches.

Post-mortem analysis on the carcasses are being performed at five government-run laboratories and separately by the Government Analysts Department, said an official of the wildlife department who spoke on condition of anonymity as the official was not authorized to speak to the media.

A stray dog stands amid the waves as decomposed remains of a turtle lies on a beach polluted following the sinking of a container ship that caught fire while transporting chemicals off Kapungoda, outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, June 21, 2021. X-Press Pearl, a Singapore-flagged ship sank off on Thursday a month after catching fire, raising concerns about a possible environmental disaster. Credit: AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

“Provisionally, we can say that these deaths were caused by two methods—one is due to burns from the heat and secondly due to chemicals. These are obvious,” said Anil Jasinghe, secretary of the environment ministry.

He refrained from giving an exact cause, saying “post-mortem analysis are still being conducted.”

Thushan Kapurusinghe of the Turtle Conservation Project blamed the fire and chemicals the ship carried for killing the turtles.

With over three decades experience on turtle conservation, Kapurusinghe said the dead turtles had oral, cloacal and throat bleeding and “specific parts of their carapace have burns and erosion signs.”

The sea off Sri Lanka and its coastline are home to five species of turtles that regularly come to lay eggs. March to June is the peak season for turtle arrivals.

  • Sri Lankan wild life workers remove decomposed remains of a turtle lies on a beach polluted following the sinking of a container ship that caught fire while transporting chemicals off Kapungoda, outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, June 21, 2021. X-Press Pearl, a Singapore-flagged ship sank off on Thursday a month after catching fire, raising concerns about a possible environmental disaster. Credit: AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena
  • Sri Lankan wild life workers prepare to remove decomposed remains of a turtle lies on a beach polluted following the sinking of a container ship that caught fire while transporting chemicals off Kapungoda, outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, June 21, 2021. X-Press Pearl, a Singapore-flagged ship sank off on Thursday a month after catching fire, raising concerns about a possible environmental disaster. Credit: AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena
  • Sri Lankan wild life workers prepare to remove decomposed remains of a turtle lies on a beach polluted following the sinking of a container ship that caught fire while transporting chemicals off Kapungoda, outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Monday, June 21, 2021. X-Press Pearl, a Singapore-flagged ship sank off on Thursday a month after catching fire, raising concerns about a possible environmental disaster. Credit: AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena

Lalith Ekanayake, a marine and coastal ecologist, suspects, based on the nature of the fire and amount of chemicals, that “at least 400 turtles may have died and their carcasses may have sunk in the sea or drifted to the deep sea.”

Sri Lanka plans to claim compensation from X-Press Feeders, the ship’s owner, and already have submitted an interim claim of $40 million.



© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Citation:
Turtle carcasses wash ashore in Sri Lanka after ship fire (2021, June 22)
retrieved 22 June 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-06-turtle-carcasses-ashore-sri-lanka.html

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Australia fights UN downgrade of Great Barrier Reef health

Hexbyte Glen Cove

This aerial photos shows the Great Barrier Reef in Australia on Dec. 2, 2017. Australia said Tuesday, June 22, 2021, it will fight a recommendation for the Great Barrier Reef to be listed as in danger of losing its World Heritage values due to climate change, while environmentalists have applauded the U.N. World Heritage Committee’s proposal.Credit: Kyodo News via AP

Australia said Tuesday it will fight against plans to downgrade the Great Barrier Reef’s World Heritage status due to climate change, while environmentalists have applauded the U.N. World Heritage Committee’s proposal.

The committee said in a draft report on Monday that “there is no possible doubt” that the network of colorful corals off Australia’s northeast coast was “facing ascertained danger.”

The report recommends that the world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem be added to UNESCO’s List of World Heritage in Danger, which includes 53 sites, when the World Heritage Committee considers the question in China in July.

The listing could shake Australians’ confidence in their government’s ability to care for the natural wonder and create a role for UNESCO headquarters in devising so-called “corrective measures,” which would likely include tougher action to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Any downgrade of the reef’s World Heritage status could reduce tourism revenue that the natural wonder generates for Australia because fewer tourists would be attracted to a degraded environment and dead coral.

Reef cruise operators said the report was wrong and that tourists continued to be awed by dazzling coral and multicolored fish. But some tourists said the reef had seemed more colorful during visits decades ago.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said she and Foreign Minister Marise Payne had called UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay to express the government’s “strong disappointment” and “bewilderment” at the proposal.

Australia, which is one of 21 countries on the committee, will oppose the listing, Ley said.

“This decision was flawed. Clearly there were politics behind it,” Ley told reporters. “Clearly those politics have subverted a proper process and for the World Heritage Committee to not even foreshadow this listing is, I think, appalling.”

The network of 2,500 reefs covering 348,000 square kilometers (134,000 square miles) has been World Heritage-listed since 1981.

But its health is under increasing threat from and rising ocean temperatures.

The report found the site had suffered significantly from coral bleaching events caused by unusually warm ocean temperatures in 2016, 2017 and last year.

Australian Environment Minister Sussan Ley, left, speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, June 22, 2021. Australia said on Tuesday it will fight a draft recommendation to list the Great Barrier Reef as a World Heritage site in danger after a United Nations body called for more government action on climate change. Credit: Lukas Coch/AAP via AP

Australian Marine Conservation Society environmental consultant Imogen Zethoven welcomed the committee’s recognition that “Australia hasn’t done enough on climate change to protect the future of the reef.”

The reef would become the first site to be added to the List of World Heritage in Danger primarily for climate change reasons, Zethoven said.

“It would be a very significant step for the World Heritage Committee to make this decision and one that we really hope that it does make because it will open up a lot of potential change,” she said.

Richard Leck, a spokesman for the environmental group WWF, said listing the reef as in-danger would be “a real shock” to many Australians.

In 2014, Australia was warned that an “in danger” listing was being considered rather than being proposed for immediate action.

Australia had time to respond by developing a long-term plan to improve the reef’s health called the Reef 2050 Plan.

The committee said this week that plan “requires stronger and clearer commitments, in particular towards urgently countering the effects of climate change.”

Ley said climate change policy debate should be restricted to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“I know … that climate change is the biggest threat to the and in no way am I stepping away from that recognition and countries including European countries have got strong views about what policies different countries should have on climate change and I understand that as well, but this is not the convention in which to have those conversations,” Ley said, referring to the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage.

Observers say the swearing in on Tuesday of new Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, who opposes action on climate change that increases prices, signals Australia is likely to set less ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Terry Hughes, director of the Australian Research Council’s Center for Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, said Australia’s refusal to commit to a net zero carbon emissions target by 2050 made the country a “complete outlier.”

“This draft decision from UNESCO is pointing the finger at Australia and saying: ‘If you’re serious about saving the Great Barrier Reef, you need to do something about your policies,'” Hughes told Australian Broadcasting Corp.



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Australia fights UN downgrade of Great Barrier Reef health (2021, June 22)
retrieved 22 June 2021
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